WCO Report for Erie County 11/09/2005: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: November 08, 2005

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on November 08, 2005 at 20:39:08:

WEST ERIE COUNTY, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert

Conditions: Tributary levels continue to drop with the lack of precipitation. High winds and some rain did little to help the cause other than to deposit a significant number of leaves with little flow to wash them down stream. Anglers are finding the larger holes and the mouths over crowded and the fish doing little to cooperate. Lake shore fishing at Trout and Godfrey Runs has been difficult with heavy lake conditions although on calm days, fishing is good. A better strategy might be to do a little walking. You may have better success in a less crowded area (if you can find one) even though there may be less fish, they may be less line shy with the low, clear conditions. A significant amount of precipitation will be needed over a long period of time to get the tribs up to more normal levels.

Law Enforcement:
Area officers have been extremely busy 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This past weekend yielded over 40 citations and 96 warnings. Sometimes we hear that we are not around when needed, however, anglers can rest assured that law enforcement presence is exceptionally strong this year and producing positive results. Poaching, netting, and snagging violators are being caught and prosecuted. A number of anglers have been very helpful in these aprehensions. Those wishing to assist us in these efforts with any helpful information are advised to contact area officers when a violation is observed and never to attempt to take matters into their own hands. Frankly, you just don't know who you may be dealing with. When reporting a violation, your efforts should be directed at having good information including a detailed description, location and time, suspected violation, type of equipment used,vehicle description and license plate number etc.. The more good information received, the better the chances of prosecution. Area bait shops, local sportsmen's clubs, and the Walnut Creek Access office have free convenient wallet size cards available with contact numbers for reporting violations. These "Turn in a Poacher" cards are free of charge.

Violations in our area can be reported as follows:

WCO Brook Tolbert, West Erie County: cell (814) 566-7869
WCO Ed Stuart, Central Erie County: cell (814) 572-0066
WCO Jim Smolko, East Erie County: cell (814) 572-0078 WCO Tom Edwards, Northwest Region Office: 814-337-0444
PA State Police, Lawrence Park (East Erie): 814-898-1641
PA State Police, Girard (West Erie): 814-774-9611
Walnut Creek Access Office: (814) 833-2464
A larger than usual number of snagging cases have surfaced this year. Anglers should be aware that even an accidental foul hooking necessitates immediately releasing the fish unharmed. This means playing the fish no more than necessary (or cutting it loose if need be for it's survival) and if possible removing the hook while the fish is still in the water. So often we see an angler reel in a foul hooked fish, net it, toss it on the bank, admire it, show it to his buddies, play with it while his concience debates whether or not to keep it, and in some cases, of all things he will the time to take a photo. After all this, he will release it thinking he did the right thing only to have the fish float belly up down stream. It is important to remember that regulations state "catch, kill or possess". Taking possession of a foul hooked fish obviously would be a violation but equally so, not immediately releasing the same fish unharmed and causing a kill through careless and intentional over handling would be equally in violation.

Law Enforcement Summary from WCO Tom Edwards, Northwest Region Office: Enforcement action began on Thursday morning with the Pennsylvania State Police stopping a vehicle with 4 individuals soaking wet, covered in sand and in possession of a landing net in plain view. A subsequent investigation revealed 42 steelhead in a tote in the vehicles trunk. Information was obtained relating to 2 individuals taking a significant number of steelhead on Thursday, 2 WCO’s conducted plainclothes surveillance of suspects on Friday which resulted in violations for over the legal limit (17 steelhead) and filleting regulations. Other enforcement actions taken on Lake Erie Tributaries included the following:

* 8 Snagging cases
* 4 Tributary closure (fishing in a area closed to fishing), for example, South of Route 5 after 10:00 PM
* 4 Control of PFBC property or using PFBC property for other than its intended use
* 6 Over the limit cases
* 1 Fishing with license under suspension.
* 2 Litter
* 7 Fishing in closed area, (20 mile).
* 1 Fishing using an Illegal Device.
* 1 Fishing without a valid fishing license.
* 1 Trout stamp violation.
* 1 Fishing in nursery waters.
* 2 Field dressing of fish.
* 1 Lake Erie permit violation.
WCO’s also issued 96 warnings for additional violations on the Lake Erie Tributaries.

Anglers are to be commended for their assistance and are always encouraged to call in violation information to Walnut Creek Access Area and Local WCO’s. Without a complaint and good information regarding the above individuals it would have been very hard if not impossible to take action on this abuse of our valuable resource.

Walnut Creek Access Information: All basin marina docks including the launch ramps have been removed. Although launching is still permitted, boaters are advised that the end of the Walnut Channel is nearly filled in as a result of the excessive wind and waves this past weekend.

Littering: The littering messages are not getting through especially at the Walnut and Elk Creek Accesses. With dumpsters at every corner of the Walnut Creek parking lot, there is no excuse for anything left on the ground. All area officers are always on the watch for litter problems and maximum fines will be levied for any such violations. Take a responsibility for the area you are fishing and take a little extra trash to the dumpster, even if wasn't yours. It will make you feel good and a little effort by everyone will go a long way towards keeping our area a little cleaner and fishing access open to the public.

Support Your Local Sportsmen's Clubs: The PA Steelhead Association will have its monthly meeting beginning at 7 PM on Wednesday, November 9, 2005. This months keynote speaker will be Victor Wheel from the United Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs. Note the new location - meetings will be held at the American Legion Post 773 on 4109 West 12th Street, Erie, PA. 16505., Just East of the Erie Airport on Route 5. The public is welcome.

Local Weather:

Wednesday Night Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers. Windy with lows in the lower 40s. West winds 25 to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph.

Thursday Showers likely with a chance of snow showers. Windy and much cooler with highs in the mid 40s. Northwest winds 25 to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. Chance of precipitation 60 percent.

Thursday Night Mostly cloudy in the evening...Then becoming partly cloudy. A 40 percent chance of rain showers. Breezy with lows in the mid 30s. Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph. Gusts up to 40 mph in the evening.

Veterans Day Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 40s.

Friday Night Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 30s.

Saturday Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 50s.

Saturday Night Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 40s.

Sunday Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Highs in the upper 50s.

Sunday Night Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Lows in the mid 40s.

Monday Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Highs in the lower 50s.

Monday Night Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 40s.

Tuesday Mostly cloudy. A 30 percent chance of showers. Highs in the lower 50s.

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